U.S. Grant's Ancestral Homestead in Tyrone

Tourism Office, Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council
The hearth of the Simpson family home.

The relationship between Ulster and the United States of America originated in days of despair and prospered on hard work and endeavor. Despair, because so many through adversity, decided to seek a better life in the New World, carrying with them a sense of purpose to improve their lot. One of these was John Simpson who was born in County Tyrone, at Dergenagh, near Dungannon, in 1738. He emigrated to Ohio in the American colonies in 1760, and was the maternal grandfather of Ulysses Simpson Grant.

The farmhouse at Dergenagh (in Irish, "red, marshy ground") is a far cry from Washington and the White House. It was here that the maternal ancestors of Ulysses Simpson Grant, the victorious commander of the Union forces during the Civil War and 18th President of the United States (1869-1877) raised their families, tended their animals and harvested their crops. Today the homestead and farmyard have been restored to the style and appearance of a mid-19th century smallholding and stand as fine examples of their type.

The cottage came into public ownership in the 1970s. During restoration, it was discovered that there were large sections of mud walls reinforced with reeds, and an original mud and wattle canopy fireplace came to light, immediately dating the homestead to the 15th century.

Things to see include a fully furnished two-roomed cottage, American Civil War exhibit, two audiovisual shows, wildlife garden, and agricultural implements display. Things to do include: cycle hire along various way-marked routes, picnic/barbecue area, wildlife pond, children's play area, and tea room. — Tourism Office, Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council)


Assessing Ulysses S. Grant's Place in History

Candace Scott Ulysses S. Grant Homepage
Ulysses Grant in uniform, in the field

Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th president of the United States, was an underappreciated giant of history. He was the principal author of the Union's victory in America's Civil War, a feat that emancipated millions from slavery and ensured the survival of the United States. To that point, perhaps no one in the history of the Western world held as much practical power or the fear and respect of enemies while being on the right side of human rights.

As president, Grant supported American blacks in their struggle to move from slavery to full equality under the law, a transformation unparalleled in U.S. history. He tenaciously supported stringent measures to protect the rights of freed slaves in the South, such as the 15th Amendment, and the Enforcement Acts. In foreign policy, Grant was a pioneer who hammered out the Alabama Claims settlement that averted war with Great Britain and established the principle of international arbitration.

Beyond the myth, born on the political stump, that Grant's administration was distinguished by corruption, is the reality: Grant served with great determination and his integrity intact. Among his many accomplishments, while serving in a particularly corrupt period in American history: Grant established the nation's first civil service commission, a forerunner of the eventual merit system. He also supported the prosecution of 192 officials for engaging in misconduct.

Grant, when all is said and done, was the quintessential everyman who rose from obscurity on his personal merits, approaching titanic challenges with a modest demeanor and calm competence.

Subsequent generations with other agendas largely obscured the principle of human dignity to which he was committed. But historians are rediscovering Grant's monumental legacy. —Scott Berman


Copyright © 2004 by GAR Media LLC and the author. This article may not be resold, reprinted, or redistributed for compensation of any kind without prior permission from the author. Direct questions about permissions topermissions@garmedia.com.

This page was produced by Joseph E. Gannon, with research assistance from Frank Scaturro.

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